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Central Ave. traffic calming in Madison a work in progress

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Sidewalk installation may be answer

By SALLY CAPONE Staff Writer
Madison Eagle

MADISON – Concerned residents and borough and Morris County officials huddled again with the public last week to discuss remedies to cut down speeding on Central Avenue.

The installation of sidewalks that would narrow the roadway seemed to be the leading contender for making the road safer — but not everyone agreed.

The special information meeting held Friday afternoon, May 1, in the first-floor Municipal Court at the Hartley Dodge Memorial building came exactly seven months after the initial meeting to tackle the issue, spurred by a neighborhood petition.

Back in October, the borough considered the installation of two pole-mounted solar-assisted radar signs similar to those recently erected on Greenwood and Rosedale avenues; updating and adding crosswalks, chevrons, “Slow” warnings and bicycle striping; the posting of a crossing guard within 10 days at the intersection of Fairview and Central avenues, and the posting of additional wheelchair signs.

On The Table

The signs and sidewalks are still very much on the table, as well a speed reduction from 35 mph to 30 — and maybe 25, said Borough Engineer Robert Vogel.

He added that a contract had just gone out for bids for improvements to Ridgedale Avenue, and since Central ends at Ridgedale, it would “be good to have a tandem project.”

As far as the location of pole-mounted solar-assisted radar signs, that depends on a survey which won’t be completed until the end of May, Vogel noted.

“We have no stats that could be proven as the best location for the signs,” said police Lt. Joseph Cirella, adding that he wants to space out any additional signs.

“Once the survey is done, we’ll have a better plan,” he said, joking that the sooner traffic calming is successful, the fewer the calls that will come into the police station.

‘Early Stages’

Mayor Robert Conley stressed to the residents that the traffic calming plans were “in the very early stages.”

Members of the public who said they opposed sidewalks indicated that it would be difficult for senior citizens to maintain them, especially when it comes to snow removal, which is mandatory within 24 hours of a snowstorm.

One resident called the idea “brutal.”

“If sidewalks are a burden, we’ll help you out,” Conley responded.

Those in favor of sidewalks, like Ray Lauletti of Central Avenue, pointed to the number of children who use Central Avenue to walk to the Central Avenue Elementary School.

“It’s crazy — there’s no downside to sidewalks,” he said.

Another resident, who opposed the installation of sidewalks, pondered why Central Avenue had been widened many years ago.

Both Vogel and Morris County Engineer Christopher Vitz agreed that narrowing roads is a trend today.

“Residents are more vocal; they want a slower speed,” Vitz said.

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